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Traveling guide for Santa Cruz

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MARCH 07, 2023

Last week, I went on a weekend trip to Santa Cruz. Since it’s only about an hour away, Santa Cruz is definitely a popular place to take a short break, relieve stress and heal your exhausted minds from midterm season. If you choose to visit, here are some spots that you must visit during your time in Santa Cruz. 

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk 

The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is an amusement park facing the ocean. It lies along the coast of Monterey Bay and is also known as the best seaside park in the world. I felt that Monterey Bay is definitely a beach with a “California Vibe.” This beach, less crowded with people, has a pleasant vibe with palm trees, a beautiful shoreline with clear waters and white sands. It’s also a great place for a picnic. 

I discovered that you can also enjoy some rides in the amusement park. The Giant Dipper roller coaster and Looff Carousel are designated National Historic Landmarks, but there are also many modern rides, games and street foods. It’s free to enter, but you do need tickets to take the rides. I bought a 30-point daily ticket and it was enough for taking three eight point rides and one six point ride! My favorite ride is Undertow, which is a fast spinning roller coaster. Plus, the best part of the park is that it’s not crowded and there’s basically no line at all. If you want to enjoy thrilling rides but are tired of waiting in lines, you should definitely visit the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. 

Santa Cruz Wharf

Santa Cruz Wharf stretches a half mile out to the sea. It’s a spot for fishing, boat tours, viewing sea lions, dining, nightlife and gift shops. The wharf was built in 1914, providing a safe haven for ships traveling the coast. It has incredible ocean views and you can also take in the scenery of the boardwalk with Monterey Bay. It’s an eco-friendly place where you can see a group of sea lions under the wharf. You would see them swimming, lying on each other or sometimes fighting. I also saw two ocean swimmers, diving from the wharf and swimming across the Monterey Bay. 


The easiest way to grab food from Santa Cruz is to go to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk or Santa Cruz Wharf. There’s so many restaurants where you can sit on the terrace and enjoy the ocean views. I went to a place called Ideal Bar & Grill because it was located at the starting point of the boardwalk and the brunch was great. If you want to grab a delicious dessert, you should definitely go downtown. 11th Hour Coffee, The Penny Ice Creamery, Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting and Pacific Cookie Company are some famous dessert places that I’ve found. 

On a way to Santa Cruz

If you’re going to Santa Cruz by car, it’s a 2 hour drive from Berkeley. On the way to Santa Cruz, there’s an amazing spot where you can pause and enjoy the scenery. After about an hour, you’ll see the Montara State Beach along the highway. The sunset from the beach is beautiful and I couldn’t help but stop and enjoy the wonderful sunset. 

Midterm season is almost over and we’re free to go for a short trip. Go visit Santa Cruz, enjoy the lazy weekend and praise yourself for achieving the first half of the semester.

Contact Sojeong Mun at 


MARCH 07, 2023